House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday he does not expect voter backlash should party members use the parlimentary “self-executing” rule to “deem” the Senate health care bill passable without having to actually vote.
“Do you think any American is going to make the distinction” between the process and substance of the bill?,” Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, asked reporters. “I don’t think that any American … any real American out there will make the distinction between the two.”
Mr. Hoyer continued with his Machiavellian tone in further explaining why he thinks Americans care more about a health care bill passing than the procedure to get it passed.
“The American public believes that if a majority of those elected by them to office decide that something is good after full debate, it should pass,” he said. “Process is interesting particularly to all of us around this room, but in the final analysis what is interesting to the American public is what this bill will do for them and their families to make their lives more secure.”
Mr. Hoyer was reminded by reporters that the “Cornhusker Kickback” and other so-called backroom deals to gain votes in December for the passage of the Senate health care bill caused a tremendous backlash among Americans.
“I don’t think Cornhuskers was about process,” he responded. “I think Cornhuskers was about substance. The American people are rightfully angry there was a special deal and very frankly, Senator Nelson has said that’s not what he wanted.”
He also said about the so-called “reconciliation” procedure that might be used to pass the legislation that Republicans have used it roughly 30 percent, while Democrats have used it about 16 percent to pass bills.
” ‘So what,’ says the American people. What they’re interested in is what resulted. ‘What did you do for me and my family to make my life more secure and better and greater quality.’ And that’s what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Hoyer said.
He also was asked why Democrats could not simply ask for an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill on the House floor and “play it straight,” Mr. Hoyer shot back,
“We’re playing it straight. We are doing this process for the same reason Republicans did this process. Frankly, what we want to do is the Senate bill as amended by reconciliation.”
He continued, “Why? Because the Republicans would not go to conference when you take it out of conference. You need 60 votes and the Republicans are in lockstep in opposing it. Therefore, if you want to affect the lives of the American, we’ll do what we said what we are going to do, and that is provide expanded health care.”
The constitutionality of the process, however, remained a nagging question.
Said Mr. Hoyer: “We’re going to vote on a bill and on a rule, which will provide for the result that if a majority is for it [we] will adopt a bill … . Does anybody in this room doubt that you have to vote on that in one form or another.”